Workstands are also a must-have item. They hold the bike clear of ground, allow work on all components, spin cranks so you adjust gears, and fold up
Workstands are also a must-have item. They hold the bike clear of ground, allow work on all components, spin cranks so you adjust gears, and fold up.
B’Twin 500 Workstand
Specification: weight: 4.24kg • working height: 151cm • Clamp offset: 28cm • Leg footprint: 100cm • Contact: decathlon.co.uk
Let’s get the obvious bit out of the way first – B’Twin 500 Workstand is incredibly inexpensive. Although nominally priced at just under sixty quid, at the time of writing it was discounted to a frankly unbelievable £49.99. Even without the discount, to get a proper workstand that holds the bike completely off the ground, without removing the front wheel, at this price is impressive.
Out of the box, it assembles quickly with no tools required. The construction is, understandably, to a budget, with lots of plastic rather than metal, but it’s reasonably sturdy. Having said that, we probably wouldn’t use it for e-bike maintenance.
The tripod base has a small footprint, so it’s not the most stable design, and there’s enough flex to make it feel a bit out of its depth when really wrenching on bottom bracket cups and pedals.
The working height is good, in fact the best here, and it folds up quickly – although the bike clamp doesn’t fold inline with the main support.
There are a few problems with the B’Twin 500. The first is that you can’t fit the supplied tool tray with a left hand pedal installed and still spin the cranks as the two interfere. Secondly, the cam on the quick release seatpost clamp is too large, so it’s hard to close. And finally it won’t clamp most dropper posts as the jaws are too large to grip a 25.4mm tube.
If you’ve got less than £100 to spend, however, these issues are far from deal breakers, as there are simple solutions to get around them (pad out the jaws and remove the tray or the left pedal).
Feedback Sports Recreational Workstand
Specification: weight: 6.04kg • working height: 131cm • Clamp offset: 26cm • Leg footprint: 110cm • Contact: 2pure.co.uk
For the last 15 years I’ve had the forerunner of the Feedback Sports Recreational stand in my shed. When it was new, it was part of the now defunct Wrench Force range, but it’s identical in almost every way to the stand you can buy now. And despite spending all that time in a damp shed, it’s still going strong, which is testament to its simple design and excellent build quality.
Simple, because the tripod base uses the main upright as one of the three legs; the other two swing out and secure with a thru-pin. Simple, because it’s not height adjustable, and there are no telescoping sections to the upright. Consequently the working height is just about acceptable for me, although you might want something taller if you’re over six foot. Equally, it’s taller when folded than some other stands.
It’s perfectly stable though, and the clamp will hold dropper posts solidly without issue. To clamp the post, you have to spin the dial, which is slower than the Park’s quick release unit, but we only think this is an issue when you’re trying to clamp a heavy e-bike.
Rotating the bike is possible, but the large dial at the back of the clamp arm needs to be tightened pretty hard to stop the front end dropping – improving the grip and leverage here would be welcome.
Lighter and cheaper (we’ve seen it online for as little as £75) than the Park stand, the Feedback Sports Recreational Stand doesn’t boast many bells and whistles, but it does the job of letting you work on your bike extremely well and I can personally vouch for its durability.
Park Tool Deluxe Home Mechanic Repair Stand
Specification: weight: 7.5kg • working height: 146cm • Clamp offset: 23cm • Leg footprint: 126cm • Contact: freewheel.co.uk
Unboxing the Park Deluxe Home Mechanic stand was the most involved of all the models on test. That said, it only took about fifteen minutes to assemble and it’s a job you only need to do once. Once built, it looks and feels like the most serious workstand here. In fact its heft was obvious without even putting it on the scales. Much as this is a ‘portable’ workstand, we wouldn’t want to lug it around for long.
Like the Feedback Sports, Park uses the upright as the third leg, with the other two folding out as you slide a collar down the main shaft. Cleverly, it has also angled the upright to give more room to work on the bike and increase pedal clearance. However, this does increase the size of the footprint – at 126cm it takes up the most floor space.
The clamp is height adjustable up to 146cm, which puts the bike at a comfortable height for working on. Having said that, the jaws of the clamp are too big to secure the 25.4mm telescoping tube of a typical dropper post. As such you’ll either have to use something to shim the clamp, or pull the lower part of the post out of the frame.
The quick release handle works great though – you can quickly and easily mount a bike without giving yourself a hernia. It’s also easy to rotate the bike to the correct angle, and tighten the arm to prevent slipping – even with the front wheel raised up.
Finally there’s a small, but useful, tool tray that comes with the stand – perfect for holding a selection of Allen keys and screwdrivers, as well as small parts that you don’t want to lose. Park work stands are a common sight in bike shops, race pits and the sheds and garages of enthusiasts around the world. There’s good reason for this; they’re well thought out, functional and built to last.
Topeak Prepstand ZX
Specification: weight: 2.86kg • working height: 135cm • Clamp offset: 28cm • Leg footprint: 88cm • Contact: extrauk.co.uk
For quick repairs, such as aligning a brake caliper or adjusting gears, we rarely bother clamping the bike in a workstand. Instead we simply hang the nose of the saddle over the clamp so that the bike is in the air. It’s a quick and easy shortcut if you don’t need full stability. We’re obviously not the only people to do it, because Topeak has actually created a stand designed to do just this. By eliminating the clamp mechanism completely, weight and cost are reduced. As a result the Topeak Prepstand ZX weighs a scant 2.8kg and packs down so small it’s no problem to sling in the back of the car for a weekend riding trip. It’s also pretty good value at £129.
The build quality is superb, with smooth quick release fasteners, etched height markings and a main support that remains aligned as you raise it. To work on the bike, you simply insert the seatpost between the two horizontal prongs and rest the saddle on the flat rubber pads.
While it’s a well-made product, it’s not without its limitations. Obviously the bike is free to move, so any job where you want it to remain fixed in place (removing bottom brackets, bleeding brakes) is made more difficult. Also the front wheel rests on the floor, so you can’t use the stand for jobs where you need it to spin. And the working height is quite low, so even someone of average height will need to stoop a bit to work on the gears.
A neat idea in principle, the Topeak ZX doesn’t function that well in practice. As such, we’d recommend investing in one of the other stands on test here, or Topeak’s more conventional Prepstand Pro instead.
Best mountain bike workstands conclusion
Of the four workstands on test, only the Topeak Prepstand ZX didn’t meet our requirements, with the front wheel resting against the floor and making adjustments to that particular area much more difficult. Equally, it doesn’t hold the bike high enough or securely enough to recommend it for more than occasional tuning. The bargain B’Twin 500 Workstand is nowhere near as sturdy as the Park or Feedback Sports, the pedal fouls the tool tray and the clamp needs padding out for dropper posts, but it’s a great option if you’re on a limited budget.
Almost inseparable at the top of the tree are the Park Tool Deluxe Home Mechanic Repair Stand and the Feedback Sports Recreational Workstand, with both boasting their own particular strengths and weaknesses. The Park stand is heavy-duty, stable and gives you loads of room to work around the bike. On the other hand it’s more expensive than the Feedback Sports, it weighs more, so isn’t as portable, and the clamp doesn’t grip the 25.4mm upper tube of a dropper post. The Feedback Sports may be a bit taller than the Park when folded, and the fixed working height may not suit everyone, but it holds the bike securely and the simple design has proved immensely durable over the last decade.